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Space Access Society 1996


Published 1996


Title #1, Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 .
A detailed compilation of Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) and X-33 Reusable Test Vehicle (RTV) videos by the Space Access Society in 1996. Each video is preceded by description text.

The DC-X project was an experiment in reusable rocketry. It was the first Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) rocket vehicle to fly multiple times, with the goal of making future Single Stage To Orbit rockets to fly to space cheaply and reliably. The project inspired the creation of dozens of private rocket companies. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_DC-X.

The Space Access Society is a non-profit organization focused on "Promoting affordable access to space for all." Web: http://www.space-access.org.


Contents of this compilation:

1:18 Animations of the three bidders for the NASA X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) project in 1995. The contenders were Rockwell, with a Space Shuttle derived design; Lockheed Martin's lifting-body/linear aerospike design (and eventual winner of X-33); and McDonnell Douglas/Boeing's "Delta Clipper" design. (Note: GLOW = Gross Lift Off Weight, SSME = Space Shuttle Main Engine). Of the three contenders, only McDonnell Douglas had a working prototype.

10:29 Two live video views of DC-X flight #8 with the famous "flip" maneuver test in 1995. The first view is from a ground camera, the second view is from an Air Force jet. (Note: the DC-X launch site was at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, next to Holloman Air Force base and between Las Cruces and Alamogordo.)

20:00 "DC-X The Future is Now!" Promotional video co-created by MorningStar Media and McDonnell Douglas. Info on the background of the DC-X project and the philosophy behind it. This video is also available in standalone form at the Internet Archive: http://archive.org/details/janesmalley1_juno_DCX

30:40 "Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Program" video. A promotional piece developed with the help of the Space Frontier Foundation, a non-profit group devoted to promoting a private space industry and eventually settlements beyond Earth orbit. It describes how McDonnell Douglas applied concepts from its commercial aviation division to rocketry logistics: low cost, reusability, flexibility, and multiple markets. Narrated by Apollo 12 astronaut and DC-X program director Pete Conrad. This video is also available in standalone form at the Internet Archive: http://archive.org/details/ReusableLaunchVehicle

36:16 Video from McDonnell Douglas showing several of the DC-X launches.*A different narrator describes the result of each flight. It shows flights 1 through 8, from 1993 to 1995. The narrator mentions the hand-off of the DC-X project to NASA, which calls it the DC-XA Clipper Graham.This video is also part of the "Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Program" video at the Internet Archive: http://archive.org/details/ReusableLaunchVehicle

47:50 NASA video of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Program, also known as the X-33 project. Many of the concepts promoted by the project was derived from the DC-X program. (Note: SSTO = Single Stage to Orbit). The video shows the current state of the technologies being developed by each contender: Lockheed Martin, Rockwell, and McDonnell Douglass/Boeing. Also discussed was the X-34 test program. Various rocket engine technologies are discussed including joint US/Russia engine tests.

1:00:16 Promotional piece by Rocketdyne (a division of Rockwell) for the "Aerospike Engine." A unique design that is basically half a rocket nozzle. The other "half" is air pressure from the surrounding atmosphere. The challenge of rockets is that the nozzle needs to expand as the vehicle goes higher into the air. The aerospike engine solves this problem. First tested in the early 1970's, it was re-tested in the 1990's with Lockheed Martin's X-33 vehicle. Prototypes have been hot-fired at least 50 times.

1:06:30 DC-X Flight #3, 30 Sept 1993. Unplanned engine out test and safe flight. Max altitude of 1200 feet.

1:09:02 DC-X Flight #4, Spring 1994. Two views: one from a remote camera, and another from a camera in the engine compartment (at around 1:13:04). Includes Flight Control audio.

1:17:00 DC-X Flight #5, 27 June 1994. An explosion of vented hydrogen tore open the DC-X's graphic-epoxy aeroshell on one side at launch. The interior of the vehicle was undamaged, and continued on its flight.

1:21:10 Footage of DC-X Flight #5. Video from Henry Vanderbilt, founder and President of the Space Access Society. He was stationed three miles away in an observer area.

1:25:00 More footage of Flight #5. Henry and people at the desert area where the DC-X made an emergency landing. Four big round holes made by the rocket engines are clearly visible.

1:28:50 More footage of Flight #5. Henry and fellow visitors walk to the damaged DC-X rocket to examine it. Narration by Henry Vanderbilt of SAS.

1:30:00 Post Flight #5. Description of DC-X launch area equipment.

1:37:19 DC-X Flight #6, 16 May 1995. Official video from White Sands Missile Range.

1:40:08 DC-X flight #6 post flight press meeting with Pete Conrad. Video from Larry Evans of Mach25 Communications. Also a tour inside the Flight Operations Control Center (FOCC). Interview with Major Jess Sponable, where he describes the plans for the next two flights.

1:46:00 More Post DC-X Flight #6. Detailed discussion of how the FOCC Real Time Data System (RTDS) works by Steve Vogelwede of McDonnell Douglas (Kennedy Space Center). (I worked with Steve at KSC back in the day.)

1:49:45 Post DC-X Flight #7, 12 June 1995. Henry Vanderbilt, reporters, and enthusiasts leave the bus and take a close look at the rocket. There are more spectators than ground crew. Details of the launch stand, vehicle transporter.

1:54:10 Post DC-X Flight #7.* DC-X being mounted to transporter and moved back to the launch stand. Long slow ride, about 2 mph.

1:57:50 DC-X Flight #8, 7 July 1995. As seen from visitor observation area. The famous "rotation" maneuver, the rocket simulated re-entry from the atmosphere, righted itself, and landed flawlessly. The crowd goes wild!

2:00:25 Space Access Society needs your support.


Run time 2:00:48
Producer Space Access Society
Production Company Space Access Society
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English

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